How to deal with a connecting flight and what to do if you miss yours?

Last updated on June 14, 2019

Air passengers worry about missing their connecting flights, but there are some rules that will help to deal with connecting flights and won’t create serious travel problems. However, you can not completely eliminate the risk. You can only minimize it.

Sometimes it is impossible to travel with no connecting flights unless you travel from one big airport to another. What is more, connecting flights are usually cheaper than direct ones. Connecting flight gives you freedom of travelling anywhere you wish, but also gives some risk of missing your connection. Here is a list of how to protect yourself from missing a connecting flight. Flight connections allow one-stop service from almost anywhere to almost anywhere else, but that process also puts you at risk of missing your connecting flight due to delay.

Know minimum time for connecting flights at the airport you travel

Airlines set standard minimum connecting times at each hub they serve. It will be difficult to find such information on the website. But usually, airline’s system automatically put minimum time at your connecting point when booking. If you miss a connecting flight, airlines are obliged to provide you seat on another flight with no additional charges.

Evaluate automatically given connection time

If airline gave you tight connection automatically, this does not mean you should blindly buy it. Walking from one gate to another will melt your time – it might take even more than 30 minutes depending on the airport. Even if you make it in time, you might get stressed and at the end have no time for things like visiting the restroom or buying a meal before your flight. Furthermore, evaluate your time for flight connection if you travel with disabled person or children or plan your journey at a busy time of the year (like Christmas etc.).

In fact, you should also consider if your first flight has chances to be delayed. Again, flight delays are more frequent on busy time. What is more, the flight compensation company AirHelp claims that flight delays, cancellations or denied boarding are more likely to happen in the evening than in the morning.

Book your flight on a single ticket

A single ticket has a lot of advantages. Single tickets usually provide checking baggage from your departure to final destination. Check-in might be done from your departure airport for all connecting flights if you use airport check-in. You may receive missed connection flight compensation if your tickets were purchased with on reservation number.

Use one airline or at least one alliance for a flight connection

If it is possible, book connecting flights on a single airline or on airlines that are partners in an alliance. Usually, airlines try to arrange their gates and partner gates close together at big hub airports. What is more, air passengers are eligible for missed connection compensation if their tickets have one reservation number under EU Regulation EC 261. Airlines will calculate automatically your time, which you might need for connection. Finally, if you have your ticket on two separate airlines and your first flight is delayed, what determines you miss a connection, the second airline will treat you as a no-show, it will cancel your reservation and make you buy a new ticket for the next flight. Of course, if you have no choice and have to travel on the two-ticket trip, leave at least 3 hours, especially, if you will have to check-in your baggage second time at the connecting airport.

Avoid the last flight connection of the day

The same as with flight delays, don’t plan your journey in the evening. Avoid booking the last flight of the day out of your connecting airport, because if you miss that flight you gonna have to stay at that place overnight and will arrive at your final destination a day late.

Pick the right airport for your flight connection

Choose the airport which has fewer delays is less busy etc. This information you may find on the internet or in our article – Worst countries in Europe for flight delays and cancellations.

Arrange the seat near the front of the plane

If you know you have a tight airport connection, try to get a seat next to the front door on your first flight as you will have the ability to leave the plane first and won’t have to wait and stress while other passengers slowly move and take their hand luggage.

Use apps to make your flight connection

There are a huge variety of apps to track delays, check weather conditions at your connecting hub, or at least book a hotel room for overnight stay.

Direct flights are still the best choice

Obviously, direct flights are the best way to avoid connecting flights problems. Not only because of avoiding delays, but also direct flights will let you save additionally 2 or more hours which you might spend at the connecting airport.

In the end, what happens if you miss your connecting flight?

If the missed connecting flight due to the airline’s fault, the airline has to rebook you on the next available flight. If you will need accommodation or meals while waiting airline might offer to pay for these extra expenses, but it is voluntary. Be aware, there are no guarantees for rebooking the ticket if you travel with separate airlines. What is more, you miss the right to receive missed connection compensation if your tickets have different reservation numbers.

If you miss your flight due to other reasons that are not under airlines control, you will be rebooked on another flight, but a refund for meals and accommodation might not be offered. However, if you miss your connecting flight because of your own fault, obviously, you will have to purchase another ticket for your second flight.

In conclusion, plan your connecting flights carefully, choose more time to spend in the connecting airport, purchase the same airlines or the same alliance ticket and know airline passenger rights when you experience flight delays, cancellations, denied boarding due to overbooking or missed connection flights.

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